How You Can Manage Fatigue

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Submitted by Dr. Gareth Parry, Global Medical Advisory Board Member and GBS Support Group NZ Trust

An online activity-focused coaching programme helps reduce fatigue in people after Guillain-Barré Syndrome

60-80% of people with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) report persistent fatigue which significantly limits everyday functioning despite good recovery of strength. Dr Suzie Mudge who is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the GBS Support Group, NZ, and a senior research fellow at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand postulated that a coached exercise program would reduce fatigue and improve well-being in people with GBS. In a recently completed study, she and her colleagues recruited people diagnosed with GBS more than two years previously who still had fatigue that limited daily activity. Participants undertook a 12-week, online coached exercise program tailored to individual needs. She studied the impact of this exercise on fatigue, sense of well-being, and confidence in exercise. She found that the program reduced fatigue for most participants who found it feasible, enjoyable, and acceptable. Importantly, participants felt they learned a lot about fatigue, themselves, and strategies to manage fatigue, which included graduated physical activity. This study has shown that supervised, graduated physical activity is important in managing fatigue after GBS. A coaching approach helps participants develop skills to set goals and make a personalized plan to manage fatigue.

After the study, participants thought it would have been useful to have more information about fatigue earlier in their recovery so Dr Mudge developed some simple resources about fatigue that are now available online